Seven iPhone Days–Week One

The first thing that is remarkable about this week: I can make a pony tail!

A foggy morning on Highway 751

Monday Guacamole

Jason bought me some flowers.

I spent much of the week planning activities for a Collegiate Challenge group that came from Wilifrid-Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Coconut should be involved in everything.

I see this tree every day. Sometimes I say, “Hi, Tree!” and look around hoping that no one saw the waving that might have also happened.

I got some lipstick. Now I just need the thing to wear it to.

Jason and I worked on my bike. He’s saying, “I know exactly what I’m doing here.”

Solo Fro Yo. Chocolate with walnuts, coconut, strawberries and melted peanut butter.

This is what I do first thing in the morning; I plant my feet beside my space heater at work and avoid moving. For about 10 seconds before I have to get up for something.

I have a white cow cream pitcher, and I met its more stylish cousin at Target this week.

Huevos Rancheros!

Wilifrid-Laurier bookshelf painters!

Recipes & lists. Lists & recipes.

It snowed on Sunday! And it was also in the 70s on Thursday.

Leftover Valentine’s Day cup from Starbucks

These trophies were found in the Home Stores and given to the Collegiate Challenge students.

I went to Nashville to visit family this weekend. This was my favorite book of my Grandmother’s when I was little. She still has it!

The book is called Gnomes and this page illustrates the differences between male and female gnomes.

While in Nashville, I saw my cousin Daisy as Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. She was wonderful. In this scene, she is confessing her love to a (clearly confused) Violia (dressed in drag as Cesario).

I’m moving this week. Into a wonderful apartment where the neighbors have chickens. Here is my new kitchen in action for the first time.

I made late night moving noodles. With olive oil, toasted walnuts, and sauteed zucchini.

Then we toasted to new places. And to the chickens.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and I have to admit: I did something really cheesy. I made chocolate-covered strawberries. I do have a defense, though. The strawberries were from Florida and looked like real summertime strawberries. And strawberries are my favorite fruit of all time. Whether you’re buying my defense or not, it happened. And they were awesome.

This is as easy as it looks. You just need to know one thing. No water in the chocolate. Ever. This means two things: first, you’ll use vegetable shortening rather than butter. And second, wash your berries early and let them dry completely before dipping. Did you know that shortening doesn’t have water in it? And that butter does? I didn’t until this project.

Here’s the recipe:

1 pint strawberries, washed, dried, with leaves attached

6 ounces baking chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons Crisco vegetable shortening

Toppings! (I used coconut, chopped pecans, and peanut butter)

Start by chopping your chocolate. Then get out your double boiler. Or, find a metal bowl that fits inside of a pot but doesn’t touch the bottom. Works just the same! Put chocolate and Crisco in the bowl and a little water in the bottom of the pot, then out it over medium heat. You don’t really want the water to boil; that’s too hot. You just want to make the bottom of your bowl get hot. But you really, really don’t want your bowl touching any water. Stir constantly until chocolate and Crisco have melted. Take the bowl out of the pot as soon as the chocolate is smooth. Then, dip your berries. Nothing too fancy. Put them on a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet. Then, put your toppings on! My favorite was peanut butter. I just put it in a plastic baggie and cut off the corner. Yum!

Enjoy! And don’t think it has to be Valentine’s Day to make these. It could also be someone’s birthday, or maybe just a Wednesday. Chocolate-covered strawberries are perfect for Wednesdays.

Shredded Beef Sandwiches

Sometimes, a sandwich is worth more than just a few minutes thought. While I love peanut butter as much as the next person (let’s be real–more than most people), every once in a while, a sandwich should be a well thought out project. Do I sound too much like Dagwood? Just go with it. You’ll thank me.

You’ll need to get started early on this one. We’re talking about slow-roasted, make your house smell delicious all day sort of beef. You’ll be so ready for that sandwich.

The beef is a chuck roast, cooked in a dutch oven for 5-6 hours with parsley, sage, salt & pepper, a whole head of crushed garlic, red onion, and beef broth.

While this is in the oven, you have lots of time to do all sorts of things, like take a nap and dream of sandwiches. Or you could make some horseradish mayonnaise. But do me a favor: use the right kind of horseradish. It’s definitely not anything that has “creamy” or “sauce” on the label. It will probably be called “prepared horseradish,” and you should get the spiciest one they have.

 After you make your mayo and piddle about for 5-6 hours, take your beef out of the pot with a slotted spoon and put it in a bowl. Use two forks to shred the beef. Now, the moment has arrived–sandwich time! I recommend a healthy slathering of your horseradish mayo, some dijon mustard and thin slices of red onion. I also recommend wrapping your sandwich in wax paper, throwing it in a brown paper bag with some chips and surprising someone with a picnic!

For the Shredded Beef:

3 pound chuck roast, cut into 1 pound pieces

1 thick slice red onion

1 whole head of garlic, each clove crushed and peeled

handful of italian parsley, stems and all

a few sage leaves

enough beef broth to cover everything (I used 8 cups, but could have used 6)

Start by preheating your oven to 275 degrees F. Then, salt and pepper your meat, throw it in the pot with everything else, and pour the broth over top. Stick it in the oven and leave it alone for 5-6 hours–or until meats pulls apart easily.

For the Horseradish Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

chopped chives

chopped italian parsley

Mix everything together, simple as that!

This sandwich is best enjoyed on a good brioche roll, or poppy seed kaiser rolls (like I had) or whatever you have. Also, it goes very well with potato chips and beer. ‘Nuff said.

Homemade Valentines

I’m not one of those people who is really down on Valentine’s Day–but I do have two complaints.

1. Pre-made kid valentines. Kids should make their own. For real.

2. Conversation hearts. Because they’re gross. Like chalk with cheesy sayings stamped on it. And a really boring way to get cavities. Don’t even get me started on pre-made valentines with attached conversation hearts. No thank you.

Instead of sifting through aisles of pink fluffy things and having some over-prices couples meal where you don’t get to choose anything you eat, I made Jason a valentine’s day gift this year.

Let’s start here: I’m no seamstress. These little hearts were very, very easy. I just cut hearts out of some not-very-Valentine’s-y fabric, used embroidery thread to sew them together, and stuffed them with pulled-apart cotton balls.

I used red and light blue. This was partly because everything pink and most red things were gone from the craft store, and also because I think it’s pretty.

Okay, so the way it works: I’ll give Jason the jar, with this note on it. I’ve hidden the hearts all over the place, so when he finds them, they’re like little Valentines that last longer than just one day! Also, they can be recycled, so I can re-hide them, and he can also hide them for me. Provided they don’t fall apart…

Happy Valentine-Making! And please, no pre-made valentines. And please, please no conversation hearts.